I absolutely adore this time of year. The cold weather brings about a need of closeness for warmth. The snow falls and reminds me to slow down, pause, and appreciate the beauty in all things (seriously, have you ever just sat and watched each unique snowflake fall, it is mesmerizing). This time of year also brings about traditions. Holiday traditions that deepen connections with loved ones, which allows for presence and intention. Most importantly, holiday traditions offer opportunities to show gratitude and love.
In the last few years, a tradition my husband and I have started is going around the table and sharing the thing we are most grateful for from the year. Simple, yet powerful. It is what I look forward to most on Thanksgiving.
Additionally, a new tradition we started in the last week is a gratitude/happy jar. Every day we write one thing down that we are either grateful for or brought us happiness. Whenever we are in need of a reminder or a quick pick-me-up, we can grab one of the pieces of paper to read and reminisce about. I will say that in the short time I have been participating in this, I have found endless opportunities to acknowledge the gratitude I carry.
Today, I wrote about my gratitude for the people in my community whom I trust and who trust me. This community includes you! Whether or not we have met in person, I feel a connection to you in allowing me into your in-box with my thoughts and writings. You read the words I intentionally write and I appreciate this from the bottom of my heart, truly.
Both of the above practices take little time and resources yet bring upon ripe opportunities for rich connection with yourself and with others. I encourage you to try either or both and see the impact it may have on you. And don’t limit yourself to one day a year, create space to acknowledge and share your gratitude daily. It isn’t just enjoyable, it’s healthy for you too, read here for more on this.
But, before I end this post, I also want to acknowledge that this time of year can be difficult for many. Perhaps it’s your first holiday spent without a loved one, or you are fearful of approaching a large meal after beginning recovery of an eating disorder, or perhaps the emotions that come up for you are complicated. Please know I am sending you a heartfelt hug. Remember to be gentle with yourself, find the kindness and gratitude. “Let that sense of gratitude wash over you- this helps us manage and cope” (said by Paul Mills, in the above article).
I hope you are spending this day with people who love you and that you love. However you choose to spend this holiday, I hope it is filled with love, light, and gratitude.
Until next time,
Dr. Lily A. Zehner, MFT-C is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Denver where she helps others reach their fullest relational and sexual potential. To learn more about her and her services, please feel free to take a look around her website.